Thomas Jefferson spent years as minister plenipotentiary to France and enjoyed dining there so much that he took his slave and cook James Hemings to Paris “for the particular purpose of learning French cookery.” Here is a typical recipe that was served at Monticello (adapted for the modern kitchen) from Dining at Monticello, edited by Damon Lee Fowler. It works for just about any root vegetable, especially carrots.
12 very small turnips (about 2 pounds), as much the same size as possible
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup rich veal or beef broth
1. Scrub the turnips under cold running water, drain well, and peel, trimming them into even ovals that will roll easily. Put the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it is just melted, put in the turnips and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with sugar and saute, gently shaking the pan to roll them, until they are nicely and evenly browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Pour in the broth and bring it to a boil, again gently shaking the pan. Cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer gently until the turnips are just tender. Taste and add salt as needed and pour into a warm serving bowl.